Meeting Jennifer Niven (+ Giveaway!)

6 April 2015

I've been to a lot of book signings in the past several years, and in some ways they've become my addiction. I love going to them and hearing authors talk about their life experiences - the events that inspired them to create their novels. From every single book signing I've been to, I've always been able to learn something from each and everyone of them. But this particular one has a very special place in my heart. I first heard about Jennifer Niven through her best selling book, 'All the Bright Places', which has recently been auctioned for a film adaptation. After reading the first couple of pages from her novel, I was sold. So I headed down to my local Waterstones, prepared to meet Jennifer.

The event all started with a book-riddle treasure hunt in Waterstones. The aim of the game was to find words hidden in books throughout the store which would make up a quote from a novel. The first team that had all the words to the quote would win between them £100 worth of books curtsy of Waterstones. Oh let me tell you, never ever in my life have I run so much in a book store. It was such fun solving riddles with other girls on my team who I'd just met moments before. The way we were running from floor to floor trying to find books on our list was manic - definitely the best work out I've ever had. The writers at the event including Jennifer and Sally Green joined in too, which was amazing. After being so close to winning, we were rewarded lovely cupcakes, biscuits and drinks for our vigilant efforts. It was then that I got to meet Jennifer, who'd come in earlier with a lovely bright red handbag. Between me and the other girls standing by,  we talked about our adventures of the book hunt, and how our dream would be to be stuck in a bookstore. She was lovely and so down to earth, and I loved speaking to her. In that moment she was a friendly companion to talk to. Not just an author - there was no boundary and I loved that.

As the book talk continued, Jennifer spoke of how she wrote the book personally to her experience of knowing someone like Finch in her life, and it immediately struck a cord in me. I felt an instant connection to her unlike other. To have the courage to write something like that - about a boy she once knew and loved, who had tried to commit suicide - was just so inspiring and intimate. I'm not sure if I could be that brave. As she continued to talk of her dream cast, and the personal significance of writing the book, I feel in love with her humble attitude and compassion. Her passion for her book was so evidently clear. Though I have not read the book yet, I believe that this story and Jennifer are part of the current movement in popular culture, which is shedding light on issues dealing with emotional struggles and mental illnesses that need to be recognised in society. It is not okay that things these happen, and there are things we can do about them.

Something that struck me about Jennifer throughout the event was how compassionate she truly was. She truly took the time to speak to every person at the signing - even towards the end when she had a train to catch only minutes away. She stayed as long as she could, taking pictures with fans - including myself. Despite the rush, she was very personal and spoke with such calm and compassion. It was so endearing and wonderful. I'm not sure how many people would do that! My hope is that I can meet her again one day, and be able to tell her in whole how much the whole experience meant to me. 

In honour of her and her new book 'All The Bright Places', I'll be giving away a signed copy of her book. All you have to do to enter is down below. Because this is my very first giveaway - you have to be from England to enter! Good luck folks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So tell me, have you had a similar experience meeting Jennifer? Or any other author? I'd love to know! 

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